Accidentally twinning with your work wife hits differently than facing your doppelgänger at a party. (“I looove that we both wore our Ganni dresses and Medea bags, but one of us has to change and it isn’t me.”) Rather, chance-coordinating at the office is just the mutual check of approval that makes a thing A Thing. And coordinating at the office of a media company that covers style? That’s like the fashion version of a bill becoming a law.
At our lower Manhattan headquarters, one bag is so popular it’s practically in the InStyle constitution. On a typical day, I commute in with my Cuyana Tall Structured Leather Zipper Tote in Blood Orange. When I get to my desk, oftentimes I’ll see the ecommerce department lead, Chloe, with her identical bag in black. Later, I’ll walk to lunch and spot a familiar-faced stranger with the zipperless version. As I’m leaving for the day, perhaps I’ll run into lifestyle editor Kylie, who’s schlepped her Classic Leather Tote everywhere over the last three years.
A versatile Cuyana leather tote has become the de facto carrier for professional women who touch all sides of our business. Its durable pebbled leather exterior houses an incongruously spacious interior where your laptop, gym stuff, and Amazon returns can coexist comfortably. Its self-standing construction is luxuriously convenient, as are its various internal pouches and pen sleeves, which make you feel like a woman who owns and actively uses a pocketbook (whatever that is).
To pre-empt this article (and make sure I wasn’t suffering from extreme confirmation bias of my own great taste in bags), I sent out a quick survey to my colleagues via Slack. Ample Cuyana tote owners stepped forward, as did two Cuyana Half-Moon Bag owners, two Cuyana Travel Case carriers, the newly minted proprietor of a Cuyana Triple Zipper Weekender, and multiple people who claimed they’d either purchased the tote for their mom or bullied their dad into doing so himself.
Perhaps more telling, though, were the responses from the have-nots. My message thread teemed with comments reading “i wish i did,” “I want one ,” and “I think about owning it like constantly, but have not purchased yet haha.”
Céline girls might claim they’ll never stray from their Luggage Phantom Totes, and Saint Laurent stans could death-grip their structured shoppers. But there’s one area where they’ll never match Cuyana: The brand’s totes are all (often much) less than $300. Shop InStyle editors’ favorite work bags below, and see Cuyana’s entire lineup here.